Own-store sales falter as the retailer rationalises its store estate
Thorntons has reported strong interim figures, although own-store sales have continued to suffer. The confectionery retailer said turnover for the 28 weeks to January 8 increased by 9.5 per cent to£119.7 million. Profit before tax also grew, by 10.4 per cent to£13.3 million. However, like-for-like sales at the retailer's shops were static, rising just 0.8 per cent.

Thorntons is operating with 11 fewer shops than last year, so own-store sales actually declined 0.3 per cent to£85 million. The retailer said it is looking to Easter, its next crucial calendar period, to boost end-of-year results. Thorntons chairman Christopher Burnett said: 'The results represent further progress, despite the difficult Christmas period. Most of the sales growth came from the sale of Thorntons-branded products through other retailers, where we have been establishing a presence in the past two years.'

The retailer expects sales from third-party retailers to reach£20 million by the year-end.